Alright y’all, it’s finally time to dig into the plans for the new house! YAY! So this post is going to be a bit of back story on the house, and in the next few posts I’ll share our inspiration pics and floor plan. And bear with me because it’s kinda all over the place (I’m trying to keep it somewhat short and sweet).
Here we go….
We designed our new house from scratch. As in, here is a blank piece of paper….draw your dream home. Sounds awesome right? It is. Also, it’s extremely hard.
Adam and I have always wanted to build a custom home, and I have had a general floor plan in mind for basically a decade…so I figured getting it out of my head and onto paper would be relatively easy. That, however, was not true. I went through so many (like a whole book) of graph paper before I had something that even relatively worked. We had originally started out wanting a barn home, something that was pretty much a big square, kinda like these (well, the first three)…
But it just didn’t work for the floor plan I wanted. It was too wide, nothing had enough windows, and each rooms dimension effected the others too much. It just wasn’t working. When it was all said and done we ended up with more of “T” shaped house, and it works great. I wish I would have saved all our changes along the way, but all I have is this picture….
For months Adam and I carried around tape measures, measuring all the rooms and houses we came in contact with. We probably measured our own home a thousand times. I taped off walls and furniture on our current floors, trying to get an idea of exactly how much space we needed and how it would flow. And right when we thought we had it all figured out, we would measure something else and make a few more changes. So, as you can imagine, the house turned out bigger than originally planned….it kinda just crept up on us, one change at a time. The main (and really only) floor is 2,400 square feet, and the loft above the kitchen and dining room (there’s nothing up there, it’s basically a sky basement) is 500 square feet. So 2,900 square feet total. Saying it out loud sounds kinda ridiculous right now (our current house is 1650 square feet), but I know it will suit our growing family nicely. Babies only get bigger, after all.
We have some very good friends, Darin and Jody (our table building buddies), that bought land shortly before we did. One day the four of us were sitting around talking about our future homes (probably sometime around last Thanksgiving) we realized something…we wanted basically the exact same thing, we have the same taste, and each want to do a lot of work ourselves to save money. So we did the only thing that made sense….we decided to just build the same house. The four of us designed it together, are using the same custom builder, and are going to help each other with all the DIY projects along the way. We both plan to have the builder build the “shell” of the home – finish the outside, get up sheet rock and texture, rough in plumbing and electrical…and that’s about it. We plan to do all the cabinets, flooring, fixtures, trim, painting, all that fun stuff. It should be interesting, especially considering that between our two families we have seven small kids.
Anyway, back to designing the house…
First I went to town on my graph paper, trying my best to figure out the basics, and Adam saved me many times when my brain was just about fried. After it was laid out fairly well on graph paper Adam put what we had into an architectural computer program. At some point we finally figured out how to view a 3D model from the outside….and it looked terrible. We’re not architects, that’s for sure. So after many meetings/brainstorming sessions with our friends we eventually hammered out something that looked good and was laid out well.
Then (since none of us have any idea what we’re doing) we took those plans to an architect and had her make actual blueprints. She was great, and came up with all sorts of ideas (like where to put the stairs, something none of use were able to figure out) and put up with us making a ton of changes for weeks….months maybe. In the end our two houses turned out slightly different, but I’d say they are about 95% the same. Also, Darin and Jody are building first and have already started the foundation.
I think it’s safe to say that I have never been more excited to have friends building a house. We visit their property and watch the progress just like it was our own….cause it kinda is.
Although, my younger brother (remember him?) is building a house at the same time as well, his foundation was just poured last week.
And best of all, he and his fiancé are building in the same neighborhood we are. That’s right, it’s basically Everybody Loves Raymond over here. Adam likes to try and freak them out by constantly saying how convenient it’s going to be to have babysitters living so close. He’s totally kidding, of course….kinda….
So far, even though we haven’t broken ground yet, I can tell that remodeling a house and creating one from scratch are extremely different. When remodeling you can see what you’re doing as you go, and making decisions is fairly easy because you can visualize it in the space. Also, there are lots of restrictions…you can’t just go around moving all the walls and whatnot. It is what it is, to a certain extent. But there are no rules when designing one from scratch, the possibilities are endless. It’s like going to a restaurant and being given one of those huge six page menus and taking half an hour to choose your meal. Sometimes it’s easier to get a paper menu with only four options. Not that I want a paper menu or anything, but trying to pick finishes for a house that doesn’t exist is difficult. Difficult and really, really fun.